HomeIndependentIndependent NewsHolmdel set to implement voter-approved increase in open space tax rate

Holmdel set to implement voter-approved increase in open space tax rate

HOLMDEL – The members of the Township Committee have introduced an ordinance which will, if adopted, implement an increase in Holmdel’s open space tax rate that was approved by voters in the 2021 election.

The ordinance was introduced during the committee’s Jan. 25 meeting. Voting “yes” on a motion to introduce the ordinance were Mayor Greg Buontempo, Deputy Mayor Prakash Santhana, Committeewoman Cathy Weber, Committeeman D.J. Luccarelli and Committeeman Rocco Impreveduto.

A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for the committee’s Feb. 8 meeting. Members of the public may comment on the ordinance at that time and the committee members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

With the adoption of the ordinance, the tax rate that supports the Holmdel Open Space, Recreation, Floodplain Protection and Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund will increase from 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.

In accordance with state law, the trust fund may be used for the following purposes: the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes; the development of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes; the maintenance of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes; the acquisition of farmland for farmland preservation purposes; historic preservation of historic properties, structures, facilities, sites, areas or objects, and the acquisition of properties, structures, facilities, sites, areas or objects for historic preservation purposes; Blue Acres projects; and the payment of debt service related to open space purposes.

Regarding the history of the open space tax rate in the municipality, in 1998, Holmdel voters approved the creation and funding of the open space trust fund with a collection rate of 1 cent per $100 of equalized valuation.

In 2000, voters supported an increase in the collection rate to 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.

In 2021, voters supported an increase in the collection rate to 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation.

The ordinance that was introduced on Jan. 25 will formally enact the latest increase in the open space tax rate.

According to Township Committee members, the increased revenue a higher open space tax rate will generate will fund the acquisition of open space parcels; improvements to open space and parkland properties Holmdel already owns; the maintenance of open space parcels; floodplain protection initiatives; farmland preservation; and the preservation of historic sites in the community.

Township Administrator Cherron Rountree previously said Holmdel’s open space tax generated about $1 million in revenue for those permitted uses in 2021. She said a higher open space tax rate would be expected to produce additional revenue for the open space fund on an annual basis.

With an open space tax rate of 2.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation in place, the owner of a home assessed at $700,000 was paying about $175 per year into the open space fund.

With an open space tax rate of 3.5 cents per $100 of equalized valuation in place, the owner of a home assessed at $700,000 will pay about $245 per year into the open space fund (an annual increase of $70).

The amount of money a homeowner pays into Holmdel’s open space trust fund each year is partially dependent on the assessed value of his home and/or property.

In other business at the Jan. 25 meeting, Rountree announced she has submitted her letter of resignation and will be leaving Holmdel in one month.

Rountree was hired as Holmdel’s administrator in October 2019. The administrator oversees the day-to-day operation of the municipality.

Prior to accepting the position in Holmdel, she was the borough administrator in Eatontown.

“It has been a pleasure serving Holmdel,” Rountree said in announcing her pending departure.

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